Global Health

April 14, 2016

Vanderbilt Anesthesia broadens global efforts

Vanderbilt International Anesthesia (VIA) is developing interactive curricula and training providers who will practice around the world.

Sara Hemauer, M.D., comforts a child at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, where several Anesthesiololgy residents and fellows receive training each year. (photo by David Shirk)

by Renuka Christoph

Vanderbilt International Anesthesia (VIA) is developing interactive curricula and training providers who will practice around the world.

Mark Newton, M.D., directs the VIA program, established in 2008, serving as chief anesthesiologist for Kijabe Hospital in rural Kenya. Each year, eight to 10 residents and fellows from Vanderbilt are given the opportunity to train under Newton, a full time resident of East Africa.

“Each resident or fellow who comes to Kenya is sharpened as a leader, a clinician and as an anesthesia educator within a cross-cultural context. I appreciate being able to work closely with visiting colleagues as they train as rural anesthesia task sharers,” Newton said.

Recently, resident Joel Musee, M.D., returned from his second visit to Kijabe.

“Each time I go, my appreciation grows for all that Dr. Newton and his staff accomplish with very little,” said Musee, who was involved with perioperative obstetric and pediatric care.

The committed group of faculty, residents and CRNAs are expanding the geographic scope of VIA’s efforts, said Matt McEvoy, M.D., vice chair of Educational Affairs for the Department of Anesthesiology.

“Our team is positioned to further develop and test sustainable models of safe anesthesia care delivery worldwide, and we thank our donors for their support in making this possible,” McEvoy said.

Kelly McQueen, M.D., professor of Anesthesia and Surgery and director of Vanderbilt Anesthesia Global Health and Development, has been working to improve anesthesia and surgery infrastructure in Africa for 20 years.

She is developing long-term relationships for anesthesia education and research in Ethiopia, Guyana and Mozambique.

Trauma is the largest contributor to premature death and disability in low-income countries, claiming 1.24 million lives a year. Ninety one percent of trauma cases occur in the poorest countries and traffic injuries are the leading cause of trauma fatalities and injuries. With this in mind, McQueen and Susan Eagle, M.D., associate professor of Anesthesiology, have applied for two NIH grants with the hope of addressing the trauma crisis in Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Through a collaborative effort with the Vanderbilt Department of Engineering, the development of smart health devices is underway, and are hoped to impact trauma disability and death through early diagnosis of blood loss and critically low blood pressures. In countries like Ethiopia and Mozambique, few basic monitors are available — even basic blood pressure cuffs are often not available when needed most.

While VIA remains committed to training anesthesia providers in Kenya, its mission has expanded to training anesthesia providers in Guatemala, Kenya, Somalia, Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique. These expanded efforts are possible thanks to the generosity of VIA donors. The money being raised through the annual VIA fundraiser now supports global rotations for fellows in Global, Critical Care, Regional and Pain, and also will fund many faculty working on sustainable anesthesia efforts overseas.

This year’s dinner and auction to support Vanderbilt International Anesthesia will take place Saturday, April 23, from 6-9 p.m. at the Loveless Barn.